A Long Rant About The Current State Of Rock

What happened to rock?

Seriously. What happened?

When did it become “selling out” to do anything that doesn’t sound like you’re trying to emulate a hard-edged hard-rock group of the mid 1990’s?

Seriously. What happened?

When did a clean tone guitar or acoustic guitar automatically bar someone from being able to call their music “rock”?

Seriously. What happened?

When did actually singing become taboo? When did “good vocals” become someone yelling at the top of their lungs?

Seriously. What happened?

When did one genre of music sounding almost exactly the same for 15 years become acceptable? It’s never been acceptable in the past. Even as late as 1992, if there was a group in any genre that even sounded remotely like 1989 they were considered old news. But now—now you can sound like any rock band between 1993 and 2000 and be considered the sound of 2007. Well isn’t that nice.

All I know is, rock went from standing for musical rebellion to TOTAL MUSICAL CONFRMITY with a badass appearance and more distortion than ever to make up for a lack of creativity (we can thank the grunge era for that). The 80’s didn’t help with the awful butt rock and hair bands—that’s what set the stage for what happened to rock in the 90’s—but at least the 80’s had change going on!

Don’t get me wrong–the 90’s had some really good bands, but in constantly cloning the sound of that period, we have lessened the greatness of those good bands. Now they just sound like “generic alternative” because we’ve overplayed/overperformed that sound for WAY too long.

Even groups like Tool that everyone makes such a big deal about—they’re nothing more than a big conglomeration of 1993-1998. Yeay—they’ve taken the best of the best from that period. So what—it’s old news! Get out of the 90’s people! Move on!!!

Mix styles from the past with today, and not just the 90’s (or butt rock 80s)—there are a couple hundred years that people can easily take bits and pieces from. In rock there are around 50 years to take things from! What is so f**king hard about grabbing music from more than one decade?

Most of the time, the reason why people are unwilling to do other styles is because they’ve been led to believe that doing anything else would be “selling out” because the 90’s represents the hardest edge that rock has ever seen, and people aren’t willing to give that up to be able to live in 2007—they want to believe that side of rock will live forever. Well guess what? It’s dead. Being “badass” back then was cool. Now it just looks absurd. That’s why it’s not heard very often on POP/top-40 radio—you have to listen to an “alternative” rock station to hear it now on a regular basis. In the 90’s, IT REALLY WAS TRUE that if you didn’t do hard-edge-grungy-thrashy-sounding rock, you most likely WERE selling out. Those times have been gone for about 8 years. Now, going softer in one’s sound is what is innovative (or country-rock, or jazz-rock, or [pick-a-style-or-decade]-rock), and going harder-edge is what is the most cliché–it’s really not possible to get any more cliché.

If people weren’t so concerned with keeping rock like the 90’s, it would actually still be a substantial part of top 40 radio. Unfortunately, rap and r&b and hip-hop has taken over the spotlight, that and the message that you should spend all your money on underwear-showing name-brand jean-shorts that look like baggy capris with t-shirts down to the knees, bling, and hydraulics for your car because the man is keeping you down.

Maybe if rock starts offering something NEW instead of the 90’s sound, it will start to become popular again. Oh wait, that’s not what you want, that would be selling out, so keep doing the same thing because that’s what being “innovative” is–that’s how you avoid “selling out”… yeah right. Oh wait—let me use a 90’s word: NOT!

Whether “rockers” want to admit it or not, top 40 radio thrives on innovation mixed with hooks. Any one style may be short lived, but that’s what keeps things fresh. People ARE starting to get tired of the repetetive rap/r&b sound, and something new is going to be QUITE welcome. This is the best time to be innovative. This is the best time to get out of the 90’s.

Selling out is when you give your song to a large corporation to use in their commercials. It’d be like if you heard “All you need is Dove” (instead of “All you need is love” by the Beatles) in a Dove commercial. That’s selling out. It’s not when you actually make something innovative.

I was going to tell it to you, but you said it yourself: thank the grunge.

and of course thank the people who make them stars.

70’s music was killed by punk, now it’s been grunge, from which we still did not come back

well kizzume, i like you… but you’re getting too concerned about this issue! it shouldn’t bother you this much, really, should it??

it’s because of things like this that is the reason why i don’t listen to radio, watch tv, or pay attention to pop culture. i download the music i wanna hear and don’t worry about the rest.

in America the bottom line is POPULARITY and MONEY.
Music isn’t about music anymore, its about fashion. its big business. have you ever been to Hollywood?

Its all about hipsters and hip-hop here.

:w00t: they spinnin nigga they spinnin!

Well, what happened. What happened to music in general? Like it was said, it’s about money and popularity. That is, if you want success you don’t worry about the music, you worry about success: money and popularity.
Musicians who believe in their music as something “special, unique, divine”, ranging from “honest and true rock 'n’roll music” to whatever “authentic jazz, electro-enlightenment” will not, most likely, become succesful. Because audiences are used to smooth pop music (e.g. college punk - har har!).

Anyways, that was a good rant of yours. :)

What set off the whole rant was my recent quitting The Mercury Rising and the struggles I’ve had in trying to find another band–I put out tons of ads, but because I’m looking for a mellower-sounding band I’m not getting any responses. I tried putting a test ad in New York just to scope out the area and I got a bunch of responses in less than an hour. It kind-of makes me think I’m living in the wrong part of the country…

A small resurgence of country-rock has started to happen, I can only hope it continues and that the same thing may happen for other laid-back styles, like jazz-rock. It seems New York is ready for it, why isn’t Washington state?


same reason nobody plays house music in clubs in north carolina…


wow, jazz rock coming back would be dope. (I am not sure if this is actually the correct “genre”, but some new music in style of Can or Gong (or some eastern bands like Electra, Günther Fischer Kombination or SHQ) would be extremely welcome by me. We even got computers now, should be alot of new stuff possible. Although I guess that is what Radiohead have been doing on “Kid A” and “Amnesiac”.)

But I have been at an indietronic festival lately, alot of bands playing electronica-influenced rock, basically all had their drummers playing uptempo disco breaks with 4/4-basedrums, the bands all had normal “rock” instruments, powerchord-staccatos (finally not a wall of sound, but rather bursts of that guitarsound), groovy basslines and some moog-synthlines/electronic bleeps … It was really great, I danced my ass off five hours straight. In lack of a real name I called that music “Discopunk” in past years, they called it indie-tronic, but I don’t care, it’s just the best of both worlds for me.

Apart from that evening (and especially two of the bands that I will be following from now on (The Plectrons and So So Modern, although they were much better live) I am very bored with current rockmusic in general, indie has gone way over line lately, the music, the fashion, the people, the whole “culture” just sucks very much (atleast here in germany). Most of the stuff is just some wannabe-dirty music which is so laughable because it’s all glamourously well produced … last band I really liked was Slipknot.

looza, if you like Can and Gong (both excellent, in my opinion), you should take a listen to italian legendary jazz-rock band Area, if you didn’t already.

everything until “Maledetti” included should be of your tastes, but the best first-listen is of “Arbeit Macht Frei”

“Compose without Wires burns Directly from Brain to DVD that is already in Store”

when will this feature be implemented into renoise?

thanx for that hint, will check that band !

selling out is essential for all of them, its the only way they get to ride around on the tourbuses with all the plastic smiles.

they lost all dignity. an they’re going to have to get down on hands an knees & pick through the carpet to find it.

like for instance. breakcore grindcore horrorcore, drone metal, black metal & whatever else the junkie kids are still kinda listening to. will eventually surface. an the cockrockerstars will have their day again.

rock died with Jimi Hendrix

Yesterday I had-an-interview/interviewed a couple musicians whom I clicked with right away. In just a few hours, we made one song and worked on 3 others.

Jazz/rock fusion. Exactly what I was looking for. Now we just need a bass player. I’m very exited. Finally, a non-metal band in the puget sound area. :)

cool, best of luck and keep us posted with snippets … I would really like to hear what you come up with.

Finally a really cool posting again. Everything was said already. Music ain’t art anymore, it’s just money. But it’s really good to see that rockers and ravers (like me) agress with this. The good music died some while ago. Either that or we are just getting old.

Negative Marc, i’m young and i agree totally.
Those in my generation who would speak otherwise get scared if you start asking them why they feel that way. I dont think they really know. It gives me the distinct impression its true, and not just in North America. But, then again, Australia is basically mini-america with less guns, so what would I know…

if we (we all, I mean) really care about music, this is the best moment to revive it: everyone can access to home technologies which let him self produce music and share it we the others.

the musical ignorance of the public is disastrous so, if you want to make money with your music, you have to cope with that ignorance, or you need really big talent (not the one Shakira has: I mean the one Pink Floyd have, for example).

all people saying that music should be an art, should make music as an hobby and release it for free, I don’t think there is an alternative to this.

That’s also what I think/do.

Hmm I might be wrong… but I have the feeling that house is going to be the hip hop of tomorrow… probably a kind of hybrid house-hop (lol)

ohh that’s great… I really like these genres… jazz/rock, jazz/metal… it adds some fresh air to the rock/metal genre… when you said “jazz/rock fusion” I instantly thought of Planet X… do you know them?

That is very true, “music ain’t art anymore” … But I don’t think the good music died some while ago… (maybe its because you guys are older than me…) I think the technology has much to offer to help the evolution of music…

I think music can be art if you do it for yourself…

What’s the most important thing to me in art… is the creation of something… its not necessary the result itself… but the making of your piece of art… the way you make it is what makes it “art”…

if a music is made for the money… it won’t be composed the same way of a song you made for yourself…

I’m not sure if I achieved to explain my point… I’m not too good in english yet… sorry about this…